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Neptune, Uranus, Mars & Jupiter over two nights


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Well as you'd expect, Neptune and Uranus aren't going to be jaw dropping images, and for that matter, neither would Mars and Jupiter at this time of the year. Two six hour sessions on Friday and Sunday gave me the chance to try out my recently purchased SPC900 on these targets. My other webcam is probably better on bright targets like the Sun and Moon than the SPC, but only just managed Saturn with a borrowed x3 barlow at max exposure.

So, knowing the much better sensitivity of the SPC, I was looking forwards to see what it could do. So without much more waffle, here's the pictures.

Neptune, around 3:20am on Saturday morning, 4,338,262,996 km from Earth. 4 minute AVI, 10fps, max exposure and gain, with x2 TAL barlow. The resulting striped image took a bit of cleaning up, but after stacking in Autostakkert, x3 drizzle, curves, and gaussian blur, I got this. True colour was affected by the high gain, so they have been tweaked based on photos from the Voyager probes ( although the book printing and my monitor quality have no doubt sent the colours way off ).


Uranus, 2,902,630,379 km from Earth, taken around 4am on Monday morning. Colour as above.


Mars, 353,632,197 km from Earth, at 4am, around 10 degrees above the horizon, and showing a slight phase. 90 seconds at 10fps, x2 barlow. The haze around Mars is just exhaust fumes from Curiosity!


Jupiter, 879,078,350 km from Earth, at 4:20am, around 15 degrees above the horizon. 90 seconds at 10fps, x2 barlow.


In addition to those, I captured M33 and seven clusters with my DSLR, saw the ISS a few times, and several Perseids.

Edited by ArmyAirForce
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I find the images of the outer planets fascinating, not for the final quality of the image, but for the simple fact that I can capture a planet on the outer reaches of our Solar System. Having followed the progress of the Voyager probes through the 1970's and 80's, and seen their images, to be able to photograph those same objects from my back garden is mind blowing!

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You captured some nice colours of the outer planets. I've not tried viewing those planets yet, only tried the obvious ones so far.

I'm looking forward to Jupiter rising up higher and at a better time for me.

Thanks for sharing Stephen. :)

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Nice Stephen,

I would like to have a go at Neptune and Uranus and am trying to decide if they will be better in my DFK21 or Canon? I am impressed by your SPC900 shots, what sort of frame did you get? I thought about using my Canon and taking a long exposure (well several seconds).

Your 200mm scope is 1000mm (F/5) so with a 3x you will have been running at something like F/16 and just over 3100mm allowing for the slight extra mag out of the barlow, is that correct? My C11 (2850mm F/10) and 2x barlow might be a good fit?

I know we are about as close to these objects as we will get this year, but will they be better placed (higher up) in September?

Any tips you can give me would be gratefully received?


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Last year, I had a go at Neptune and Uranus with the DSLR. From memory, I took a large number of 30 seconds exposures and stacked them, getting these results....








My recent Neptune and Uranus shots were small on the AVI. Yes, it was a 200mm F5 scope, with a x2 barlow. That gave these images below...



Neptune ( although looking larger then Uranus, it was probably slightly out of focus, plus the high gain has together made it a bit more fuzzy than it should be )


The videos were stacked in Auto-Stakkert 2 with the x3 drizzle function selected, which further enlarged the image. The resulting TIFF was transferred to Registax v5.1 for application of wavelets, which enhanced the images a bit, but left them slightly pixelated. The save image from there was transferred to GIMP where the colours were tweaked and a gentle Gaussian Blur applied to remove the pixelation, giving the images originally posted.

Hope that helps a bit.

Edited by ArmyAirForce
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I've now photographed all the planets through my scope ( and Earth, or an object on the horizon anyway! ) and one minor planet ( 3 Juno ).

Here's the set! These are pretty much my best efforts so far, with either the Trust Spacecam 380 or more recently the SPC 900.

Mercury - June 19th 2013


Venus - One of my earliest planetary images, May 2012


Mars - Opposition 2012


Jupiter, Ganymede, Io's shadow & the GRS - February 18th 2013


Saturn and Moons - June 10th 2013


Uranus - August 2013


Neptune - August 2013


and 3 Juno - June 10th 2013


Edited by ArmyAirForce
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